What is the best flea treatment for dogs and cats? That is truly a complicated question. And it depends on the individual circumstances.
The Best Flea Treatment for Both Dogs and Cats is Prevention
When possible, the very best way of treating fleas is preventing them in the first place. Using one of the monthly flea products, this is achievable. However, it’s very easy to become lax and not apply the product when you’re not seeing fleas on your pet. The key here is to continue using your preferred product every month religiously.
How Are Safe the Monthly Flea Control Products?
Most of the most flea control products are safe when used according to label directions. However, it is important to follow the directions carefully.
Always choose a product that corresponds to your pet’s weight. Don’t try to use a flea control product for a larger dog if your dog is small.
Never use a flea control product for dogs on your cat. This is not only dangerous but can be deadly for your cat.
What About Generic Flea Control Products?
Recently, there has been much talk about a “generic” form of Frontline. According to Merial, the company that manufactures Frontline, though products such as PetArmour have the same active ingredients as Frontline, they do not have the same translocation technology that allows the product to be spread through the skin. According to Merial, this technology is what makes Frontline effective. At this point, I think the verdict is still out on the efficacy of these particular products. It’s possible that they may prove to be as effective as Frontline. It’s also possible that they may not be. Time will tell.
Are Fleas Becoming Resistant to Some Dog and Cat Flea Control Products?
This is another question that is being asked frequently. Some veterinarians say yes, some say no. I think there is evidence to support the possibility that some populations of fleas may be developing a resistance to some of the most commonly used control products. Some geographic locations may be affected by this type of resistance in a greater fashion than others.
However, it is important to realize, as a pet owner, that if you are seeing adult fleas on your pet, there are also fleas in your pet’s environment. In other words, you already have fleas in the various stages of their life cycle (eggs and larva) in your home. Under these circumstances, no monthly flea control product will rid your home or your pet of fleas with just one application. It may take several months for the infestation to be controlled.
What Is the Best Flea Treatment for a Dog or Cat Already Infested with Fleas?
- Monthly flea control products (such as Frontline Plus, Revolution, Advantage, etc.) will be effective over time in treating an already existing infection. However, several doses over an equal number of months will likely be necessary to accomplish full eradication of all fleas.
- Cleaning the environment is important also.
- Vacuum all floor surfaces frequently (not only the carpeting but also hardwoods, linoleum, tile, etc.)
- Once you’ve finished vacuuming, remove the contents of the vacuum bag from your home.
- Wash any bedding your pet sleeps on that you are able to launder, including your own bedding if your pet sleeps with you.
- Vacuum upholstery on furniture where your pet sleeps also.
- If your pet goes outdoors, block off access to areas where wildlife may rest and leave fleas behind. This includes under low-lying vegetation and in crawl spaces or under porches.
What If My Dog or Cat Is Extremely Sensitive to Flea Bites?
If your dog or cat is extremely sensitive to flea bites or suffers from a severe flea allergy, it may be necessary to be more aggressive with both flea control and additional treatments.
In some cases, a flea product that kills fleas more quickly than many of the other products may be necessary. Products such as Comfortis (for dogs) and Capstar (for both dogs and cats) may be recommended for this purpose.
Other treatments may include shampoos and ointments for use on skin lesions. Consult your veterinarian for advice on treatment for severely affected animals.
The best flea treatment for dogs and cats varies depending on whether you are trying to prevent a flea infestation or treat an animal that already has fleas. In addition, the number and types of pets in the household need to be considered. All pets need to be treated to effectively control fleas.